England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) new competition, The Hundred, has been delayed to 2021 following the effects of COVID-19 and the subsequent government guidelines.
The 100 ball cricket competition was scheduled to begin on July 17 however due to social distancing and global travel restrictions preventing its clubs players and coaches from participating, The Hundred has opted to look towards a 2021 date.
ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, stated: ‘’The situation we find ourselves in as a country means that delivery of The Hundred will not be possible this summer. Whilst we are naturally disappointed that we won’t get to realise our ambitions this year, The Hundred will go ahead in 2021 when we are safely able to deliver everything we intended to help grow the game.
“As we emerge from the fallout of COVID-19, there will be an even greater need for The Hundred. Our survival as a game, long-term, will be dependent on our ability to recover financially and continue our ambition to build on cricket’s growing fan base. That need has not gone anyway, if anything, it is now more critical.”
The Hundred was also ultimately delayed due to a behind closed doors competition contradicting the competition’s goal to attract more viewers to cricket. Moreover, if the tournament wanted to continue on its original date with furloughing across The Hundred’s 20 venues, it would prove to be a difficult task.
Cricket’s new competition also provided athletes with financial support, which is now more than ever needed during the virus outbreak with players involved in the tournament set to earn up to £125,000.
Nevertheless Harrison feels that The Hundred will be able to provide the sport as a whole with a welcome revenue boost when it launches in 2021.
He continued: “The Hundred will create millions in revenues for the game, through hosting fees, hospitality and ticket sales, as well as delivering £25m in annual financial distributions to all First Class Counties and MCC. Its role in driving participation alongside supporting the development of the women’s game will be material in generating take-up of our game across country-wide communities.’’
‘’The Hundred is an important element of the game’s Inspiring Generations strategy, which has been debated and agreed upon across the whole game. While financially, our plans may be impacted, our ambition, ‘to inspire a generation’ should in no way be diluted.’’
“We would like to thank our broadcast partners, for their extraordinary commitment and support to get The Hundred to this point and our commercial partners for their ongoing support. We very much look forward to working with them as we build to the 2021 launch.”
A rescheduled date has yet to be announced, however, The Hundred is confident that despite the setback it can still provide fans with a new cricketing experience, whilst continuing to work with its current commercial and broadcast partners.